Maui Scuba Certification: How to Prepare
You have always wanted to earn your SCUBA certification. Researching your next vacation to Maui, you find that it’s a great place to get scuba certified! Maui offers a wide variety of diving, featuring both beach and boat diving. The unique corals and sea life, coupled with the warm tropical water, guarantee a most memorable scuba certification experience. In this article, I will discuss how to prepare for your dive course on Maui and how to choose the best scuba certification option for you.
Choosing Your Scuba Certification Agency
PADI, SSI, NAUI, BSAC, CMAS…There are loads of scuba certification agencies to choose from in terms of what kind of scuba certification you want to pursue. PADI and SSI are probably the most recognized certification distributors world-wide; PADI being the most widely recognized certifier in the world.
Banyan Tree Divers is a PADI scuba certification outlet. Aside from being the most reputable and recognized scuba certification agency, PADI offers standardized courses that are approachable to a wide range of scuba diving abilities. Whether you are just starting your scuba diving journey, or are looking to become a professional diver, PADI’s structured courses provide seamless training no matter where in the world you are learning.
Which Scuba Certification Course is For You?
One question we often receive is, “My time on Maui is limited, so how long does it take to get certified?” This question does not have a straightforward answer, I’m afraid. My first question in response is, “What kind of diving do you hope to be doing once you are scuba certified?” Maui scuba diving is welcoming to all levels of scuba diving experience. Still, places like Australia’s Great Barrier Reef or Indonesia, would require more advanced dive experience. Therefore, it is best to choose the dive course that will best reflect the kind of diving you plan to do.
PADI Scuba Diver
If you come to Maui often, perhaps once a year, and don’t plan to dive other than that one time a year, the PADI Scuba Diver course might be perfect for you. PADI Scuba Diver is an introductory diving certification. It is valid for life and internationally recognized. It takes 1 to 2 days to complete, and certifies you to a depth of 40 feet, under professional supervision.
While Scuba Diver is a certification, it does NOT allow you to rent gear and dive on your own. These are the big difference between the Scuba Diver and Open Water scuba certification. However, if you plan to keep your dives shallow and always hire a guide, then PADI Scuba Diver is a good option for people with limited time.
PADI Open Water Diver
The PADI Open Water course is the most widely recognized, basic dive course for new divers. Whether you want to keep your dives shallow or eventually move up the PADI ladder to more dive experience, everyone takes the first step with the Open Water course. An Open Water scuba certification allows for a maximum depth of 60ft, is valid for life, and internationally recognized. After you earn your Open Water scuba certification, you may technically rent equipment and dive with just you and a buddy.
However, Banyan Tree Divers strongly recommends that you get many dives under your belt before diving without a guide. The course takes 3 to 4 days to complete and is certainly more in-depth than the PADI Scuba Diver course.
PADI Open Water Referral Dives
Suppose you have minimal vacation time, but you want to complete the full Open Water course. Or you just want to get as much of the course as you can, done at home. One way to do this is to complete the PADI Open Water Referral Dives Program. The Open Water course gets divided into three sections: academic theory, confined water skill practice, and four open water dives. With the Referral Dive Program, you complete the academic and confined water portion at home with your local dive shop. Your instructor supplies you with referral paperwork to pass along to your instructor on Maui. When you arrive on Maui, you only have the four open water dives to complete, which significantly reduces the amount of time you have to dedicate to your scuba certification while on vacation.
The referral program is how I completed my PADI Open Water Diver certification. I finished the academics and confined water in California. I am too much of a wimp to dive in the cold waters of Monterey, so I went to the Big Island to finish my four open water dives. This setup allowed me to get my course done and still have ample time to spend with my family during our visit.
How to Prepare for Your Scuba Certification Course
The first thing to consider before getting dive certified is assessing your physical and mental ability to complete the course. While scuba diving is both relaxing and exciting, it does require some physical fitness to pass. You must be able to complete a 200-meter unassisted swim, a 10-minute survival float, as well as snorkeling skills. It is a good idea to practice these before starting your course if you think any of these components will cause you to struggle.
Every PADI course consists of an academic portion. Much of this portion must get completed before you spend any time in the water. The Scuba Diver course consists of the first three chapters of the PADI Open Water Manual. The Open Water course requires you to complete all five sections of the manual.
e-Learning or Paper Manual
PADI offers two ways to complete the academic portion of any scuba certification. Deciding which avenue is best for you depends on the time you have, how much you want to spend, and how you best retain information.
PADI E-learning has quickly become the most widely used method for completing the PADI Open Water scuba certification. E-learning is incredibly thorough and prepares you well for the water portion of the course. Not only does it walk you through the chapters in the manual, but it also administers the quizzes and final exams before you even begin working with your instructor. This program is immensely helpful for students with limited time on vacation that don’t want to spend precious beach time working on book work. With PADI E-learning, you can complete the academics at home, and focus on diving when you come to Maui.
PADI E-learning can be purchased directly from the PADI website. At the time of writing, E-learning is $195.00. This fee is paid directly to PADI and not included in the course price collected by Banyan Tree Divers. To offset the cost of E-learning, BTD does offer a small discount on Open Water courses with two or more students who complete PADI E-learning ahead of time. Contact Us for a coupon code when making your Open Water course reservation on our website.
While more expensive than purchasing a paper manual, some prefer this method’s convenience, ease of completion, and preparation for the course before even getting on the plane.
PADI Open Water Manual, 2015 Edition
The PADI Open Water manual consists of 5 chapters. At the end of each chapter, you will find a list of questions called Knowledge Reviews. These questions must get filled out and prepare you for the quizzes and final exam. If you are completing the Scuba Diver certification, you will only receive the first three quizzes. The Open Water scuba certification will consist of all four quizzes and the 50 question final.
Your instructor will go over each chapter of the manual with you to make sure that you understand all of the information before administering the tests. Naturally, this requires you to complete much of the academics while on vacation, since your instructor must be present to go over the chapters and administer the tests. On a typical day with Banyan Tree Divers, this will add about two hours to each day of your scuba certification course.
At the time of writing, a PADI Open Water manual 2015 edition is available on Amazon for $70.20. If you want to save a bit of money, and don’t mind doing homework during your Maui visit, then this might be the best option for you. Make sure you buy the 2015 EDITION! The PADI Open Water course has evolved over the years, and books published before 2015 are too old-fashioned.
Invest Time and Effort Into Your Scuba Certification
Earning a scuba certification is a rewarding experience. It takes a significant time commitment to become a competent certified diver. Rest assured that Banyan Tree Divers makes this process approachable and fun! We can’t stress enough, however, that dedicating time to learning about scuba diving and preparing for your scuba certification will lead to a massively enjoyable experience all around.
If you have questions regarding a PADI scuba certification course, please email our dive shop ([email protected]) or call (808) 446-6099.